The Delhi High Court Thursday sought stands of the UPSC and Haryana government on a plea against the appointment of state's police chief Manoj Yadava, claiming the Supreme Court's directions on selection and appointment of DGPs were "not being followed". Justice Suresh Kait also issued notice to Yadava, asking him to file his reply on the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on July 11.
The court was hearing a petition by IPS officer Prabhat Ranjan Deo seeking quashing of the recommendation and empanelment of Yadava by the Union Public Service Commission and his appointment as Haryana director general of police by the state government's February 18 order. During the hearing, the counsel representing UPSC argued that Deo has chosen a wrong forum.
Instead of the high court, he should have approached the Central Administrative Tribunal which has jurisdiction on all-India service matters, he added. Senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha and lawyer Ashwarya Sinha, appearing for deo, opposed the UPSC argument, contending that the high court has the jurisdiction over the matter as Yadava was not discharging any duty for the Union of India but was doing it for the state.
They said Deo was not even considered for promotion to the post even though he has a "blemishless record of over 30 years of service". The counsel said despite being the senior most and fully eligible, Deo was superseded and not even considered by the UPSC for empanelment for the DGP post.
The Haryana government's counsel produced a letter written by the state's Home Department to the UPSC regarding eligibility criteria and completion of 30 years of service for empanelment of officers for the post of DGP. The letter stated that Yadava is an IPS officer of the 1988 batch as he was selected for the IPS on the basis of the 1987 civil services examination. He joined the IPS on August 21, 1989, but in view of a 1991 judgement of the Supreme Court he was assigned by the Ministry of Home Affairs August 1988 as the deemed date of joining the service.
It said on the basis of this judgement, the MHA had deemed Yadava and 20 similarly-placed IPS officers as having joined the service from 1988, categorising them as "exempted probationers' and according their seniority since then. The counsel for the MHA told the court that in the petition, no relief was sought against the Centre and it was not required to file any reply.
The petition by IPS officer Deo has also sought a stay on appointment of Yadava as the state's DGP. "The senior most and reputed officer such as the petitioner (Deo) will be forced to work under and take instructions from his junior officer, whose eligibility for the post is in question. Such discrimination by the respondents towards petitioner and other senior officers with much more experience than respondent no. 4 (Yadava), who is enjoying a higher position and reputation is totally insulting, humiliating and patently illegal," the petition said.
It also said the apex court's direction was not being complied with and misinterpreted by the UPSC wherein Deo, despite being in the shortlisted panel sent by the state government amongst the eligible officers, was not even considered, probably on the ground that his tenure was less than two years due to shortfall of four months before superannuation. The apex court had on March 13 clarified its last year's order on police reforms and said the officers who have a minimum of six months tenure left in service can be considered for the post of DGP.
In July last year, the top court had passed a slew of directions on police reforms and had directed the UPSC to consider those IPS officers "who have got a clear two years of service" for appointment as DGPs, besides giving due weightage to the "merit and seniority". Deo's petition alleged that the UPSC "clearly erred and misinterpreted" the apex court directions, which indicated that the extended term beyond the date of superannuation should be a reasonable period.
"Thus, non-consideration of the petitioner on the criterion of an officer to have mandatory two years of length of service remaining is neither in conformity with the spirit of the Supreme Court directions nor in consonance with the settled practice as followed by the UPSC itself," it said. IPS officer Deo said in his petition that on the date of vacancy, that is October 1, 2018, he clearly had two years of service left and even as on date, he has 18 months of service before superannuation.
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